Sunday, May 23, 2010

Do Small Things

Last month, we had the pleasure of another Soup and Song Home Concert at the home of Charlie and Marilyn Bernhardt. The month's artist in residence was Steve Eulberg. I last blogged about Steve almost two years ago. In the intervening period, we have listened to his music as we drove out and about on road trips.

I was absolutely delighted when he opened the evening with "A Ship May Be Safe." It is one of the songs that I've begun to use as a reminder when I'm contemplating whether to step off the beaten track and try something new, or remain in my comfort zone! Later in the evening, he and Charlie again sang "We Are An Answer to a Prayer." I thought again about all the students I've taught through the years and how they, too, have become an answer to our prayers.

The "old standbys" (the songs I've listened to again and again on my iPod or on the CD player in the car) were like old friends. But Steve brought along some "new friends" as well. There were three in particular that I enjoyed immensely, each for a different reason. Here they are!

They shall not hurt/they shall not destroy in all my holy mountain
For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of God/as the waters cover the sea
(Holy Mountain)

The melody is catchy and upbeat - the message articulates that all of the earth is "sacred space" (not just synagogues or churches) and that "hurting" and "destroying" have no role in sacred space. The allusions are to the animal world (The wolf shall live with the lamb/and the leopard shall nap with the kid/the calf and the lion make friends/by a little child they'll be led), but it's not too difficult to see directives for our (human) behavior.

The second song evoked images of "back in the day." Steve sang about the pace on a lazy Sunday afternoon, when there was all the time in the world. The song's not yet been recorded, and I don't remember either the title or the specific words. But the memories it brought to mind were both familiar and distant: the never-ending boredom of a "sitting-around"-Sunday afternoon in a small town, back in the days of "blue laws" (when retail stores weren't open on Sundays); of Sunday afternoon naps, boring television (if you were lucky, you got all four channels: ABC, CBS, NBC and public television), and hours of unscheduled time.

Our pace of life is much more frenetic these days - even if one chooses a day of rest (Shabbat, or Sunday), it tends to be in isolation from our neighbors' practice and not in connection with them.

Finally, my new favorite-of-favorites:

Maybe I can't do great things that will move earth and heaven above
But I can surely do small things and do them with great love.

I can surely do small things and do them with great love.

No one can do everything
but everyone can do something

Someone who's faithful in small things can be trusted with things much bigger.

In introducing this song, Steve talked about someone (perhaps himself?) who once asked Mother Theresa how she managed to do such great things. Mother Theresa's response was that she didn't do great things - she did "small things with great love." From that response, came the song.

I find myself humming it at random times... and being willing to consider anew what "small thing [I] can do with great love."

And I haven't even touched on the amazing tones Steve coaxed from his dulcimers... or the feelings of spiritually and community shared by all present that evening.

My thanks to Steve Eulberg and Soup and Song Productions for an evening that's already had a ripple effect in my life.

1 comment:

Minnesota Mamaleh said...

love this mary! music has such a soul-soothign effect sometimes, doesn't it? and then it just magically "sticks" with us, making it all the better! love it!